Welcome to Thursday Tea!
Today we are going to “fall down a rabbit hole” and participate in a most famous tea party, the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
It is, of course, from the 1865 novel, “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland” (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll.
|Cover of the 1898 version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland|
In the novel a girl named Alice falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as children. Considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre, its narrative course and structure, characters and imagery have been enormously influential in both popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre.
|John Tenniel illustration of the tea party for the book|
In Chapter 7, Alice becomes a guest at a "mad" tea party along with the March Hare, the Hatter, and a very tired Dormouse who falls asleep frequently, only to be violently woken up moments later by the March Hare and the Hatter.
The characters give Alice many riddles and stories, including the famous 'Why is a raven like a writing desk?' The Hatter reveals that they have tea all day because Time has punished him by eternally standing still at 6 pm (tea time). Alice becomes insulted and tired of being bombarded with riddles and she leaves claiming that it was the stupidest tea party that she had ever been to.
The Tenniel illustrations look quite different from the images in the 1951 Disney movie, which was not a large success. The film was highly criticized by fans of Lewis Carroll, and British film and literary critics, who accused Disney of "Americanizing" a great work of English literature.
The characters in the movie certainly look different than those in the Tenniel drawings.
Throwing a Mad Hatter's Tea Party is quite popular today, especially as a theme for bridal teas, baby showers, children's parties and charity events.
Theme decorations are usually quite elaborate and whimsical -- from invitations, to table decorations, to food served, to games played.
Here are some of the food suggested for Mad Hatter Tea Parties:
- Attach labels with the words 'eat me' and 'drink me' to all kinds of things, like the sugar bowl and bottles.
- Bake little cupcakes with the words 'eat me' written on them in icing
- Bake cookies in the shape of the letters EAT ME, teacups, and/or hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades. You can also use cookie cutters to shape sandwiches.
- Serve lots of tea, edible mushrooms, pepper soup or Mock Turtle soup, oysters, plum-pudding, and a leg of mutton.
- Glue the lid on a jar of jam, so nobody is able to open it. You know, the rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday -- but never jam to-day...
- Make a cake in the shape of a mushroom or teapot. Or a three-tiered cake like in the Disney movie.
- From a loaf of bread you can create bread-and-butterflies.
- Boil some eggs and paint them to resemble Humpty Dumpty. You can also have your guests paint the eggs during the party. Alternatively, leave one of the eggs unboiled... surprise when they want to eat it!
- Order (or create) some custom made tea bags or tea favors for your guests.
So do pull up a chair around the table, pour yourself a cup of tea from a mismatched teapot into a mismatched cup, choose a cupcake and enjoy today's tea time.
And you just might be inspired to pull your copy of the book from the shelf and reread it. It's not just for kids, you know!
Thanks for stopping in. Could you ever see yourself planning or throwing a Mad Hatter's Tea Party -- whether for a shower, a ladies tea, or as a participant in a charity event?